As the executive vice president of Human Resources at Microsoft, Kathleen Hogan is responsible for pushing the company’s cultural transformation forward so it can thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.
Prior to this role, Hogan was corporate vice president of Microsoft Services, a team dedicated to helping businesses and consumers maximize the value of their investment in Microsoft technologies. Hogan has also served as corporate vice president of Customer Service and Support, responsible for the strategy and delivery of consumer and commercial technical support and customer service for Microsoft products and services.
If I could ask Kathleen any three questions I would ask her:
- How do you foster an environment in which amazing ideas can be created?
- How is it working with Satya Nadella? Is he as cool and supportive as he seems on camera?
- How as the head of Human Resources do you try to get more diversity into the company?
– “Be a participant in your own rescue.”
Kathleen comes from fairly humble beginnings. Her father was a surgeon and her mother was a teacher. In high school she was a well-rounded student. I her experience she has found that stepping up and helping, doing what is the best for the team is what will help you move to management. It took Kathleen only nine months to become a development manager at Oracle. As a manager you need a growth mindset and you need to remember that no one can really fix the problem except yourself.
Kathleen is now the head of HR at Microsoft and she has helped change the corporate culture to one that is more accepting of people taking risks. What does she look for in leaders? A sense of humor, people who can crystallize ambiguity, generator of energy, tack record of success, and cares about people. How do you know when to leave a position to move on to a new venture? Someone once told Kathleen that when the horse is dead it is safe to dismount. Basically if you’re no longer learning you should move on.
She recommends telling your children something every night so that you can connect to them. This is what she says to her son: “Out of all the boys from heaven, I got the best one.”